A Culinary Guide to the Garland Pho Trail

The Lone Star State may have some of the best BBQ, but that’s not all they’re known for

May 4, 2023 6:30 am
Pho from Juicy Pho
Pho from Juicy Pho
Kayla Hui

When people think of Dallas or Texas, the first things that come to mind are BBQ or Tex-Mex. While delicious, there’s more to the Lone Star State than smoked brisket and nachos topped with beef and guacamole. If you skew just 20 minutes northeast of the city center, you’ll be inches away from Garland. Albeit small, this under-the-radar city has a lot to offer in terms of food, including the Garland Pho Trail. No, it’s not an actual trail but rather a mecca for 19 family-owned Vietnamese eateries, from strip mall stands to traditional sit-in restaurants. 

Just outside of Dallas — which has the fourth largest Vietnamese population — Garland is home to the 14th largest Viet population in the United States. Since the 1970s, Vietnamese people began immigrating to Texas as a result of the state’s growing economy, favorable living conditions and southern hospitality. As the population grew, so did the number of businesses and Vietnamese eateries, putting Garland on the food map. 

From a piping hot bowl of pho to Vietnamese drip coffee infused with condensed milk to vermicelli-stuffed egg rolls, the Garland Pho Trail is where you can find some of the best Vietnamese cuisine in Texas. 

How to get there

The most convenient and easiest way to make your way down to Garland is by car. If you’re departing from Dallas, take the I-30 E and merge onto I-635 N. The 18.9-mile drive will take roughly 30 minutes, which is plenty of time to work up an appetite. 

Our favorite stops along the Garland Pho Trail

Former chef (left) and current owner (right) of 286 Noodle House
Former chef (left) and current owner (right) of 286 Noodle House
Kayla Hui

286 Noodle House 

On the first stop of the Garland Pho Trail, you’ll want to stop at 286 Noodle House. Located on the strip of Hiep Thai Plaza, a local market selling fresh seafood and fruit and imported goods from Asia, this sit-down establishment is the perfect place to slurp up a savory bowl of pho. Owner Nick Nguyên says that the broth is cooked for more than 20 hours and is marinated with beef bones, star anise, cinnamon sticks, ginger and yellow onions, all of which give the pho its rich flavor. You can garnish your pho with bean sprouts, Thai basil, chili slices, lime and, for some heat, add sriracha. 

The menu features nine pho dishes with pre-selected meats, or choose your own adventure by creating your very own pho bowl. By choosing the latter, you’ll have the opportunity to select from three of the seven meat toppings: filet mignon, marbled brisket, beef flank, tendon, tripe, meatball and short ribs. The portions run large, but in case you have room for more, you can’t go wrong with a side of cha gio, aka Vietnamese fried egg rolls. Worry not, they come with a side of sweet chili sauce.

Vermicelli-stuffed egg rolls from Noodlelicious
Vermicelli-stuffed egg rolls from Noodlelicious
Kayla Hui


Don’t let the name Noodlelicious fool you because noodles aren’t the only tasty thing on the menu. In addition to pho tenderloin with flank and tripe, this low-key and casual restaurant, which is nestled in a shopping mall on Jupiter Road, pumps out rice and dry noodle dishes that are worth every bite. On the menu, you’ll find sauteed black pepper beef with fried green bell pepper and onion over rice and vermicelli topped with grilled pork, lettuce, cucumbers, peanut and vermicelli-stuffed egg rolls. Vermicelli, a thin, long rice noodle, is commonly found in Vietnamese dishes, such as spring rolls, soups and salads. 

Of course, a visit to Noodlelicious would not be complete without a sip of the drip coffee. Hot water is poured into a stainless steel coffee press filter. All you have to do is wait for the concoction to finish dripping over a layer of condensed milk. Once ready, pour your concentrated coffee into a cup of ice and enjoy.

Kieu Train of Juicy Pho
Kieu Train of Juicy Pho
Kayla Hui

Juicy Pho

What distinguishes Juicy Pho from the rest are the friendly staff and the clearness of the broth, which Kieu Tran, a Vietnamese pharmacist by day and co-owner by night, says is dedicated to the eatery’s use of fresh ingredients and chemist-formulated recipe. In Juicy Pho’s specialty soup, P1, you can expect to find chunks of filet mignon, brisket and meatballs topped with thinly sliced red onion, cilantro and green onion. The same thoughtfulness is extended to its other dishes and drinks, including their passion fruit juice with pulp and spring rolls, which are hand rolled in rice paper and stuffed with shrimp, vermicelli noodles, crisp lettuce and cucumber. 

Beyond the delicious food, Juicy Pho is a mission-driven locale. After battling breast cancer, Tran dedicated her life to service. For people who support the restaurant, Tran donates a portion of the proceeds to underserved communities in Texas and Vietnam, including youth experiencing mental health issues.  

Pho from 286 Noodle House
Pho from 286 Noodle House
Kayla Hui

Other delicious spots to visit 

Bánh Cuốn Thăng Long
3347 Belt Line Rd

Cháo Vịt Thanh Đa
3212 N Jupiter Rd #135

Đông Hải Restaurant
3555 W Walnut St #205

Đồng Quê Restaurant
3555 W Walnut St #205

Đức Hương Giò Chả
3347 W Walnut St

Kim Lan Food To Go
3347 W Walnut St #117

Lá Xanh Restaurant
3575 W Walnut St Suite D

Năm Hứa
3112 N Jupiter Rd #305

Phở Bang Restaurant
3565 W Walnut St. A

Pho Ca Dao
4545 W Walnut St #5143

Phở Đoàn Restaurant
3530 W Walnut St

Phuong Nam Restaurant
4413 W Walnut St

Quoc Huong Restaurant
3112 N Jupiter Rd #111

Saigon Deli
3341 W Walnut St #102

Viet Tofu
3555 W Walnut St #203


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